A hot flush is a sudden feeling of heat in your upper body, which can start in your face, neck or chest, before spreading upwards and downwards.

The skin on your face, neck and chest may become red and patchy, and you may start to sweat. You may also experience a change in your heart rate. It may become very rapid, or it may be irregular and stronger than usual (known as palpitations).

Hot flushes that occur at night are called night sweats. Most hot flushes only last a few minutes and are most common in the first year after your final period.

Many menopausal women have trouble sleeping due to night sweats, but sleep disturbance may also occur as a result of anxiety.

You may find that a lack of sleep makes you irritable, and that you have problems with your short-term memory and ability to concentrate.

During the time leading up to the menopause, you may experience vaginal dryness, itching or discomfort. This can make sex difficult or painful (known as dyspareunia). These symptoms combined are known as vaginal atrophy.

Approximately one-third of women experience the symptoms of vaginal atrophy shortly after the menopause, and slightly more women have them later on. It is possible to experience vaginal atrophy more than 10 years after your final period.

If you experience vaginal symptoms, it is likely that they will persist or worsen over time unless they are treated.

During the menopause, you may become prone to recurrent lower urinary tract infections, such as cystitis. You may also experience an urgent need to pass urine and need to pass it more often than normal.